The Nguyen family, behind the social account ‘The Nguyen’s Passport’ spent 4 days at RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort. Read their day by day summary below, plus helpful recommendations if you’re considering or planning a trip to RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort.
Our adventure began with an early morning start, a 6-hour drive from Warroora Station, near Coral Bay, to RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort. As we hit the open road, the outback’s golden glow, endless horizons, and rugged coastlines stretched out before us. Some might think a road trip with two young children is daring, but we were all so excited to get there, it was our youngest child’s’ fourth birthday, so cakes and party treats were waiting for us.
We pulled into Denham and started the final leg of our journey, a 24-kilometre drive to Monkey Mia. At the entrance of RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, a friendly ranger from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) welcomed us, ready to collect an entry fee. It’s important to note this fee is separate from your accommodation expenses. If you plan to visit for a day, you can purchase a day pass, however for longer stays, the holiday pass is the more cost-effective option. Valid for up to four weeks, the pass gives you the flexibility to enter and exit the park as needed.
Daily passes are priced at $15.00 per adult, $5.00 per child (6+), $10.00 for concessions, and $35.00 for a family entry (2 adults and 2 children). The holiday pass, on the other hand, is $25.00 per adult, $10 per child (6+), $20.00 for concessions, and $60.00 for a family pass (2 adults and 2 children). All entry fees contribute to the park’s management and conservation efforts. You can now pre-purchase your pass via the Parks and Wildlife Service website.
Next, it was time to check in at the resort and the process was smooth and hassle-free. The staff welcomed us warmly, detailing the school holiday activities and the Resort’s amenities. We set up at our caravan site, and as we did, we were greeted with the local emus strolling down the street. With everything settled, we headed to The Boughshed Restaurant for their happy hour, which runs daily from 4pm to 5pm.
We took down a beach mat, set up on the grass and the sun was still warm, with no breeze at all, perfection. It was time for our son’s birthday celebrations, so we sung happy birthday and ate cake. We had some lovely ladies come past us with a flyer, inviting us to come to the Monkey Mia Conservation Park Visitor Centre, where they were doing an interactive talk on their research on the dolphins in the Shark Bay region. After the talk, there was colouring, face painting and games for the kids, which was a hit.
We headed back to the caravan, and it was time to rest for our next day in Monkey Mia.
After a day of travelling, we decided to spend the day around the Resort. The morning started with a cooked brekky in the caravan, with the local emus visiting us again on the hunt for their own bacon and egg roll. A hot tip from the park staff was to always keep food and rubbish inside our caravan, and ensure the doors are closed and secure. It seems the emus have a taste for campground delicacies and will come over in search of food, so don’t leave anything out that might entice them further.
After brekky, we got the boys ready, the SUP board pumped up, beach cart loaded and strolled 100m down to the beach for the dolphin encounter. When we arrived, there were no dolphins around, so we set up for the day on the beach. It was low tide, so we were able to walk out to see hermit crabs, stingrays, crabs, and beautiful shells along the shoreline.
While we were exploring, some dolphins made their way into the bay. They were foraging a few hundred metres away from us and before we knew it, were about 5 metres in front of us, trying to catch some fish. The boys were stoked to see them up close. After some time of watching them swimming around, they went back out to deeper water.
After our incredible interaction, the SUP boards were calling. As we paddled out to deeper water, we saw a stingray in the shallows, which was cool to experience with my 6 year old, as he is starting to really understand and appreciate marine life. A few minutes later, we were again surrounded by dolphins. The evening before, we learnt a little about the local dolphins in the Monkey Mia area, and one dolphin we were able to identify from its fin was Smokey, which my son spotted swimming, just in front of us. After about 10 minutes of sitting and watching the dolphins around us, we paddled back in for some lunch at the caravan.
Lunch done, we headed down to the pool, found a spot on the grass and the boys had a swim and a play on the awesome pirate ship playground right next to the pool. We took a walk down to the resort shop, got some ice cream and went for a walk down to the jetty. We spotted some fish and a turtle too.
We headed back to the caravan, packed our dinner and drove down to Little Lagoon, 15 minutes out of Monkey Mia and about 5 minutes out of Denham. We love it here, the colour of the water, the epic sunsets, BBQ facilities, shelter, toilets, and you can drive onto the sand.
Swimming, paddleboarding and fishing here is also a must, however you need to be cautious here as there are stone fish in the water. The Ocean Park Aquarium, located a 25 minute drive from RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort, provides important information about stone fish in the local area. They recommend shuffling your feet in the water to help avoid being stung. The kids played on the sand, we ate dinner and watched the incredible sunset. We highly recommend watching it here one evening.
The next day, we set out early for Francois Peron National Park, but not before grabbing an iced coffee from the new café located in the camp kitchen and rec room area of the campgrounds. It’s a welcomed addition to the Resort, catering to the large campgrounds and offering an alternative to The Boughshed Restaurant for your morning java juice.
Francois Peron National Park is best tackled with a 4WD as the roads become soft. We put our tyres down to 20psi and there is a gauge at the entrance, however it can get busy, so we recommend having your own handy. Be prepared for a bumpy ride and some boggy spots, ensuring you have recovery gear handy if needed.
To enter the park, you’ll need a National Parks Pass, providing unlimited access for a year to most national parks in Western Australia. This pass can be bought at the park’s entry station, online through the DBCA website, or at a 50% discount if you’re an RAC member, available via the RAC Online Shop. The standard price is $120.00, but with an RAC membership, it’s just $60.00 and both options are valid for a full year.
We recommend packing food and water for the day, especially if you plan to explore multiple spots during your drive. Starting early allows you to visit the homestead and enjoy the artesian baths before the crowds arrive. These baths are heated to around 40 degrees Celsius, but they can be quite hot, so dipping your toes may be better for young children. A walk through the homestead provides valuable insights into the area’s history and operation when it was running.
We headed up to Bottle Bay for some fishing, exploring and swimming. If you’re on the hunt for those iconic red cliffs along the beach, this is the place to find them, and it quickly became one of our favourite stops on the drive. You can drive along the beach and park up. If you want to explore a bit and find those beautiful cliffs, drive onto the beach, turn right and head all the way up the beach until you come to a dead end. It takes a bit of climbing over some rocks, but once you have, it is honestly so worth it. We could spend hours here and when we did, we saw sting rays and dolphins. It is also a perfect spot when the wind isn’t blowing to snorkel and take the SUP board out.
We spent a few hours here, had lunch on the beach then headed back to the main dirt track. If you keep on heading north, you will come to Skip Jack Point. There are two lookouts here and we have spotted dougongs, sharks, stingrays and lots of huge fish. The sharks are normally in the shallows chasing the fish, and every time we’ve visited, we have seen marine life. Another place you can spend an hour or so.
After a big day of exploring, we headed back to Monkey Mia. We got ready for happy hour down at The Boughshed. The arvo was magical, there was a small breeze, dolphins in the bay, turtles and a sea snake around the jetty. We had the happy hour cocktails as well as some nibbles on the grass. As the sun was setting, we headed over to the Monkey Bar for some more nibbles and drinks. During the school holidays, there was a free movie playing for the kids each night. We spent a few more hours here before taking the kids back to the caravan for bed.
We were up early the next morning to start the trip home, but not before a quick stop by the new café again for a coffee.
If you’re looking for somewhere that you can bring your home on wheels and still feel like you are in a resort with all the desired amenities (and more), then RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort is the place. There’s a reason why we are here 2-3 times a year.
Extra information and recommendations:
Dolphin Encounter: Encounters are at the main beach, with dolphin feedings three times a day from 7:45am to midday. We were told to meet at the beach at 7.30am for the best experience. Make sure you take your entry ticket issued at the DBCA hut on the drive in. We usually take a photo of it on our phone for the chance we forget to bring it with us.
Aristocat2: While we didn’t have the opportunity to go on the Aristocat2 this time, we highly recommend it. We had an incredible experience last year, with an informative crew and sightings of a wide array of marine life, including sharks, dugongs, turtles, sea snakes, dolphins, and stingrays. Various cruise times are available, and prices are available on the Perfect Nature Cruises website.
The Wulyibidi Yaninyina Trail: This 3-kilometer trail loop, commencing near the visitor centre, offers a unique opportunity to explore the park’s pristine landscapes. Information along the trail sheds light on the area’s conservation values and cultural history.
The Boughshed Restaurant: The restaurant offers great food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a happy hour from 4pm to 5pm.
The Monkey Bar: With its welcoming atmosphere and diverse menu, the Monkey Bar is a great choice for eating out. It also features a small play area for the kids and offers happy hour from 5pm to 6pm.
Laundry: The laundry facilities are available at $4 per load and only accept $2 coins. You can swap your coins at the new café or the main shop. It’s a pleasant addition to the park and allows you to reset after adventures in more isolated locations.
Sites: Each caravan site is equipped with shells and firm ground, so we recommend bringing a drill to secure your pegs in place.
Kitchen/BBQ areas: The kitchen and BBQ areas are clean and stocked with a wide range of appliances for your convenience. You can also store your perishable items in the fridges if necessary.
Fish cleaning station: Ideal for those returning from fishing charters, this station makes cleaning so easy.
Beach: We highly recommend bringing shade with you as there is no shade available at the beach. SUP boards, kayaks and paddle boats are available for hire from the beach hut, located in front of the resort.
Emus: Take care to secure any food-related items, as emus are known to forage through trash and tents.
Family amenities: Great bathroom amenities, including showers, bath, change table.
Pool: There are two great pools which are family friendly, one near the front entrance and one near the beach next to the Monkey Bar.
Mini Golf: We didn’t get the chance to play here, but if you head to reception, for a small fee you are able to play mini golf as well as giant chess and a great playground in the same area and it is all fenced off.
Overall, we love the experiences that RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort and the wider Shark Bay region offer our family, and with two visits under out belts in 2023 already, plus another to close out the year, we can confidently recommend this as one of the best family-friendly destinations for your next holiday.